Critical Incident Response Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

[Student ID, Student Name, Tutor’s name, Day and time of tutorial]

ASSESSMENT 3b: Critical Incident Report

Critical Incident Report 2


This essay will provide a critical incident report in relation to the investigation of Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) on the use of drugs by the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks rugby team. The report will include the club’s background including the type of organisation it is and its sponsors. It will also provide a summary of the incident as well as reasons why the investigation is a critical incident according to the criteria presented by Hoffman and Ocasio. Moreover, the report will include the response of the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks to the investigation by ASADA and an evaluation of the club’s response. The response will be evaluated on the basis of corporate social responsibility and ethics concerning the use of drugs by people participating in sports.

Company Background

The Cronulla Sutherland Sharks is a professional rugby club in Australia that is located at Cronulla, Southern Sydney, in New South Wales. The team is a participant of the National Rugby League (NRL), which is a leading rugby league contest in Australia. The club is a for profit establishment with an online store that retails several accessories including men, ladies and kids’ apparel, DVDs, iPhone/iPod/iPad/Galaxy accessories, jewellery, watches, Christmas gifts, caps, and Vintage Range (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Club 2013). Cronulla Sharks has stayed without a sponsor for stadium after parting ways with Toyota in the previous season. The club started the new season without a sponsor for stadium, sleeve, short or jersey worth about $1.5 million in one season, but Blades continues to be its platinum sponsor (Costello 2013). Sponsorship for the club is really important to its funding to help cater for apparel, pay the coach and other commercial staff and also support community programs.

Critical Incident

The investigation of ASADA on the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks came following allegations that the club’s sports biochemist and scientist was supplying players with peptides for enhancing performance and TV-500, a substance conventionally used to build the muscles of horses during racing (Meldrum-Hanna 2013). According to Hoffman & Ocasio (2001, p.414), critical incidents are contextually dramatic occurrences that focus continued public attention as well as invite the joint redefinition or definition of social issues. Based on the criteria for differentiating critical incidents from normal events, ASADA’s investigation on the Cronulla Sharks constitute a critical incident. This is because of the continued public attention that it created with most newspapers and media houses broadcasting the matter. The incident also saw several changes in the club with the club doctor, head trainer and football general manager being sacked, a new CEO being elected, and head coach and chairman being suspended (Turbodewd 2013).

Company response

According to Benammar (2013), Cronulla has made a number of changes in its staff in response to ASADA’s investigation regarding the use of performance-enhancers and banned horse drugs by players, which continues to surround the club. Keith Ward, the club’s deputy chairman maintains that he acted subsequent to incidents of solemn mismanagement. Cronulla has gutted its personnel with Steve Flanagan, the head coach being asked to step down pending a review by the management. In addition, Peter Sharp, the assistant coach has been chosen the interim coach. Moreover, Mark Noakes, the head trainer and Darren Mooney, football general manager have been dismissed. Additionally, the deputy chairman considers Konrad Schultz, the physiotherapist and David Givney, the club doctor as no longer needed and thus they have also been sacked.

No player has been suspended so far following ASADA’s investigation since they are still being investigated to identify those who have been using such drugs. Furthermore, when the above changes were being made by the deputy chairman, the club’s chairman, Damian Irvine was overseas. After his return, the chairman has stepped down by maintaining that the club requires time to probe and plan how to proceed without added emotion and distraction (Meldrum-Hanna 2013). Following these changes, the situation at Cronulla has put the players in a difficult situation, where they have no a leader as well as a physiotherapist or doctor to check their injuries. Drawing from Benammar (2013), the implementation of extensive management changes by the board are considered necessary in providing certainty and confidence to players, sponsors as well as fans in the new season.

Evaluation and position statement

Corporate social responsibility refers to business practices that conform to ethical principles complying with legal provisions, which show respect for people, and that foster the development of the wider community and environment (McWilliams, Siegel, & Wright 2006, p.3). According to Carroll (1991, p.42), in order for a company to be considered as socially responsible, it must meet four criteria regarding its responsibilities. The responsibilities in order of priority include financial responsibility, legal responsibility, ethical responsibility and philanthropic responsibility. Maon, Lindgreen, & Swaen (2009, p.76) maintain that, financial responsibility involves making profits and increasing the value of shareholders. Legal responsibility relates to abiding by the society laws (Nielsen & Thomson 2009, p.177). Ethical responsibility entails doing things that are good and right for everyone, while philanthropic responsibility involves contributing and helping the wider society (Sharma & Kiran 2013, p.19).

Using drugs to enhance sports performance is contrary to sports’ ethics and unhealthy. Thus, in case of any allegation regarding the use of such drugs among sports people, the sports club should carry a systematic investigation into the allegation and take the necessary disciplinary measures based on concrete evidence (Stewart & Smith 2008, p.282). Strelan & Boeckmann (2003, p.179) assert that, before taking any action, the club’s management or the government authority regulating the club should consider the consequences of the action to players, staff and the club in general. This is because; people take part in sports for different stakes including personal, economical and political-national.

Evaluating the response of Cronulla Sutherland Sharks to the investigation of ASADA on the use of drugs based on the criteria for socially responsible companies and ethical behaviour in sports, a number of deviations are evident. On financial stability, the club’s scandal of drug use saw the withdrawal of major sponsors and breaking of potential sponsorship deals with big companies. This had negative impacts on the Sharks’ financial position with players starting a new season without sponsors for apparel, coach and stadium (Costello 2013). The club owes a financial responsibility to all its stakeholders including players, staff, management, the government and the community at large. Thus, in relation to the criterion for financial responsibility, it did not meet it. In addition, poor financial position meant no enough money for carrying out community programs as per the requirement of the club’s philanthropic responsibility (Sharma & Kiran 2013, p.19).

Moreover, the provision of drugs for enhancing performance and building muscles to players by the club’s biochemist went against the ethical and legal responsibility of the club as well as against sports’ ethics. In terms of ethics, use of drugs was not the right thing to do, it destroyed the club’s reputation and it was against established laws of the country. However, this did not guarantee the club’s board of directors to dismiss or suspend several members of staff, including the chairman, club doctor, coach, physiotherapist, and head trainer, among others. As far as sports’ ethics are concerned, the club did not have evidence regarding the use of drugs since ASADA’s investigations were still underway and no final report on the incident had been provided.

Furthermore, by dismissing some staff members immediately, the club’s deputy chairman was acting unethically and did not consider its impacts on those concerned. Some of the employees were in the sports’ industry out of passion for rugby while others were in it for economical reasons. The employees have family members and a community that depends on them to cater for their financial needs. Thus, dismissing them breached the ethical, financial and philanthropic responsibility of the club. Ethically, firing the employees was doing a lot of injustice to them since it rendered them jobless. Moreover, it affected the community welfare in the sense that, the employees could no longer have a reliable source of income for helping their families and community members.

The dismissal also affected the financial stability of the employees due to lack of a source of income. In this case, careful consideration on the matter indicates other better ways that the management could have used in dealing with those concerned. Being the first time the allegation was being made, the board could have given the employees a warning or other disciplinary actions like short suspension from work. At least, this could have ensured that the club conforms to the criteria for good corporate social responsibility.

Turner & McCrory (2003, p.383) argue that, when dealing with drug issues in the sports industry, there are legal provisions that clubs’ management and government bodies in charge of sports should follow. Before suspending or dismissing any employee, the management should provide the employee with warnings as well as notices in case of dismissal. It is only after a failure to change following warnings that any clubs’ staff or player can be suspended. Parisotto (2004) further notes that, before any dismissal, a sports club should give one-month notice to the staff members detailing the reasons for dismissal. Even after dismissal, an employee has a right to file an appeal for the dismissal. This does not apply to the sports sector only, it is supposed to be the norm for all organizations regardless of the sectors in which they operate.

According to the legal provisions regarding dismissal and suspension of employees in sports clubs as well as the legal responsibility’s criterion of companies’ corporate social responsibility, the response of Cronulla Sutherland Sharks does not conform to the provisions and criterion. When ASADA’s investigation started, the deputy chairman immediately made some changes in the club. He suspended the head coach without any prior warning regarding any form of misconduct (Benammar 2013). The deputy chairman’s action was illegal and baseless since he did not have any proof as to the role that the coach played in the drugs’ saga.

Moreover, the deputy chairman dismissed several staff members including the head trainer, football general manager, the physiotherapist and the club doctor without presenting them with any prior notice. According to the chairman, that was the correct way of dealing with mismanagement issues and the NFL CEO approved the deputy chairman’s actions (Benammar 2013). However, based on the criteria for good corporate social responsibility, that was wrong. It was in all ways contrary to the society’s legal requirements. Moreover, the deputy chairman’s response did not benefit either the club or the players. For instance, the club’s leadership and operations were negatively affected due to lack of enough staff. The response was also not ethically right in relation to the welfare of the players. At some point, players operated without a doctor or physiotherapist to check and manage their injuries. If anything, the response of the Sharks to ASADA’s investigation, not only was a sign of management incompetence, but also did not meet the criteria for ethical behaviour and corporate social responsibility in dealing with drug issues in sports.


From the above discussion, ASADA’s investigation on the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks is a critical incident because of the great and continued public attention it created especially in the media as well as the changes that took place in the club following the investigation. A critical evaluation of the club’s response to the investigation based on the criteria for ethical behaviour and corporate social responsibility in dealing with drug issues in sports gives way to several conclusions. First, the response did not match the club’s financial responsibility since it affected its financial position as well as the financial status of the employees who were sacked.

Ethically, sacking or suspending some employees was also wrong since it affected the welfare of players, the employees themselves, their families and the community at large. Moreover, poor financial position of the club affected its ability to contribute to community programs and thus, not meeting its philanthropic responsibility. Lastly, suspending employees without prior warning and dismissing others without notice went against the set legal requirements for handling such matters in sports.

Reference List

Benammar, E 2013, March 8, Sharks press conference: as it happened, ABC News.

Carroll, AB 1991, The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders, Business Horizons, 34 (1), 39-48.

Costello, B 2013, April 19, Cronulla Sharks to reveal stadium sponsor, The Daily Telegraph.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Club 2013, The Club, Retrieved June 3, 2013, from

Hoffman, AJ & Ocasio, W 2001, Not All Events Are Attended Equally: Toward a Middle-Range Theory of Industry Attention to External Events, Organization Science, 12 (4), 414-434.

Maon, F, Lindgreen, A & Swaen, V 2009, Designing and implementing corporate social responsibility: an integrative framework grounded in theory and practice, Journal of Business Ethics, 87, 71-89.

McWilliams, A, Siegel, D & Wright, P 2006, Corporate social responsibility: Strategic implications, Journal of Management Studies, 43 (1), 1–18.

Meldrum-Hanna, C 2013, March 13, Aussie sport doping details emerge as Government responds, ABC News.

Nielsen, A & Thomson, C 2009, Corporate social responsibility communication in small and medium-sized enterprises, International Journal of Corporate Communication, 14 (2), 176-189.

Parisotto, R 2004, Blood sports: The inside dope on drugs in sport, South Yarra, Australia, Hardie Grant.

Sharma, A & Kiran, R 2013, Corporate Social Responsibility: Driving Forces and Challenges, International Journal of Business Research and Development, 2 (1), 18‐27.

Stewart, B & Smith, AC 2008, Drug Use in Sport: Implications for Public Policy, Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 32 (3), 278-298.

Strelan, P & Boeckmann, R 2003, A new model for understanding performance-enhancing drug use by elite athletes, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 15 (1), 176-183.

Turbodewd 2013, May 21, Cronulla Sharks fighting a war they can’t win, The Roar.

Turner, M & McCrory, P 2003, Social drug policies for sport, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37 (5), 378-379.